Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"dry curry"


This is my version of what Japanese people call "dry curry," which means it's not saucy. Although this one was pretty spunky.

There are no measurements here! 

You'll need:
  • ground beef and pork mix
  • grapeseed or other neutral-flavored oil
  • carrots
  • onions
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • kabocha pumpkin (I didn't use it this time, but sometimes do)
  • cherry tomatoes, or a can of chopped tomatoes
  • turmeric
  • curry powder
  • cinnamon
  • parsley
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • tomato paste
  • frozen peas, thawed and drained
  • a little water
  • lemon juice at the end
Do this:

Saute the veggies in oil and then steam in a little water to soften. Add in the meat and cook till done, then add the rest of the ingredients (adding in a tablespoon or two of lemon juice at the end). Serve over rice. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

lentil curry: it's what's for dinner

Dinner tonight was a favorite of mine: lentil curry plus some salad-y side dishes, which included super-duper coleslaw (I added cucumbers, sweet red peppers, cabbage, carrots, and homemade coleslaw dressing), cold marinated beets (with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt), and boiled eggs with seasoned salt. I took the leftover boiled eggs and made deviled eggs, and golly, they're almost gone--all four of us love those.

Cook the lentils in water with some veggie bouillon, salt, and a bay leaf, add in some diced carrots to soften, and separately, in a frying pan, saute onions and garlic, then add in the cooked lentils and carrots, some salt, curry powder, lemon juice, turmeric, and parsley (I loosely base this recipe off of one in the More with Less cookbook).

I really enjoyed all the textures and flavors in this meal. Gochisohsamadeshita!

Friday, January 4, 2019

extremely easy mexican chicken and rice


This was one of the easiest meals ever, so full of flavor, and a Mamatouille original.

You'll need:

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs (I remove as much of the skin as I can)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
  • chili powder to taste (about 2 teaspoons)
  • salt
  • powdered cumin to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
Do this:

Whack it all in the slow cooker on high for 7 hours, then shred the chicken with two forks and serve over rice.

Our toppings: sliced black olives, salsa, avocado, and soy yogurt that I mixed with peeled and chopped cucumber, cumin, salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

new year's black-eyed peas, greens, and cornbread

My paternal grandma, Mommee Melt, would've been proud of me today: I made the traditional black-eyed peas, cornbread, and greens that she always insisted on for good luck on New Year's Day. The only thing is, I was two days late. Good thing I'm not superstitious!

I just made up my own recipes for the greens and peas.

You'll need:

  • one small bag of dried black-eyed peas
  • salt and pepper
  • bacon
  • green beans
  • bay leaves
  • plenty of fresh garlic cloves
  • fresh mustard greens
  • one onion, chopped
  • olive oil
Do this:

Bring the dried black-eyed peas to a boil in a pot of water, then turn it off and leave it for an hour or two. Come back later and bring back to the boil and add bay leaves. When they're starting to soften, add salt, pepper, chopped bacon, chopped green beans, and whole cloves of garlic. Simmer till it's kind of soupy.

For the greens, wash and chop them into bite-sized pieces. In a frying pan, saute the onion in olive oil till soft, then add in some minced fresh garlic, the greens, and a little bit of water. Then season with salt. 

Serve with cornbread, and make sure you save some of the pot liquor from the greens and black-eyed peas for the cornbread too. And don't forget sliced tomatoes doused in seasoned salt.

Happy 2019!



homemade pumpkin-pie spice, and coconut-flour pumpkin pancakes

I can't buy "pumpkin pie spice" here in Japan, but I can buy all the separate ingredients, so going on My Baking Addiction's recipe, I made my own and stored it in a jar: 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1.5 teaspoons ground allspice and 1.5 teaspoons ground cloves.

I make my own coconut-flour pancakes with the spice.

You'll need:

  • 10 eggs (yes, really!)
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • a couple pinches of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 5 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • about 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin (or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • coconut oil for frying
Do this:

Beat the eggs and mix in all the other ingredients except for the coconut oil, which you'll use in the frying pan to cook these puppies. Watch them carefully because they burn easily! 

My pumpkin puree already had sugar in it (not my choice but the only thing available on iHerb), so I didn't add any sweetener. We ate these just with butter.

corn and black bean salad: the one j-bean loves


Purple onions and cans of black beans are pretty hard to come by in Japan, but when I can find them, this is a versatile side dish/salad that three out of four of us love.

You'll need:

  • a can of corn, drained
  • a can of black beans, drained
  • cilantro (coriander leaves), chopped
  • rice vinegar (or regular white vinegar)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sweet red pepper, chopped
  • purple onion, chopped
Do this:

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge for a bit for all the flavors to meld. 

Monday, December 31, 2018

new year's eve and nut loaf


I haven't converted to veganism, but a vegan friend recommended this outstanding nut loaf to me because I can eat everything in it and my tummy will still feel happy. And it was worth it! It's not a quick meal to make, though it was easy. It's from the BBC food archives here, and I pretty much just followed the recipe, unusually enough (my few slight changes are included here).

You'll need:
  • 300 mixed nuts (I used almonds, pecans, and walnuts)
  • the equivalent of one veggie stock cube (I used a little sachet)
  • olive oil (or grapeseed oil if you prefer)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped (the original recipe called for two, but they're expensive here in Japan and sold per stick)
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 3 minced garlic cloves 
  • 4 tablespoons cashew butter (I had to make my own in my high-powered blender)
  • 180 g cooked chestnuts, chopped
  • 75 g dried cranberries (I just eyeballed it to taste)
  • fresh parsley, chopped (well, I ran out so I used dried)
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ground pepper to taste
Do this:

In a frying pan with your oil, add the onions, celery, leek, and carrots and saute till tender, then add in the minced garlic for a minute.

I used an 8X8 glass baking pan, rubbing it with oil and then adding a piece of parchment paper cut to size in the bottom. 

Preheat your oven to 200 C. 

In a food processor, blitz the nuts with the veggie stock cube or sachet until finely chopped but not turned into nut butter! In a big mixing bowl, add the hot cooked veggies and stir them up with the cashew butter, then add everything else and stir well. Pour it into your prepared pan and pat down with a wooden spoon till flat on top. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 20 so that it gets nicely browned (they would say fox-colored in Japanese). 

Let it set out a few minutes before slicing and serving with vegan gravy (I use 2 cups water, 2 stock cubes, dried parsley, sage, a little salt and pepper, then bring to a boil and add a bit of soy milk and a splash of water mixed with cornstarch or potato starch for thickening). 

Enjoy for a festive holiday meal. And Happy 2019 to you all! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

savoury gluten- and dairy-free goat-cheese herb muffins (with a kick, if you like)


Lately some Japanese grocery stores have cottoned on to the fact that not everyone can eat everything. Enter Aeon's allergen-free series of mixes--this one is a baking mix for making savoury okonomiyaki (like meaty and cabbage-y pancakes) or for coating fried chicken. It contains rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, salt, and baking powder. Perfect pour moi! 

So I experimented, and here are some mighty delicious herby muffins with goat cheese (and red pepper flakes for those who so desire--I do desire, thanks).

You'll need:
  • 2 packs of Aeon's okonomiyaki gluten-free mix (300 g total weight), or GF baking mix of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (marjoram, basil, oregano, and thyme)
  • 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 
  • red pepper flakes (optional for topping)
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup milk (I used organic soy)
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed oil 
  • goat cheese for topping
Do this: 

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, and in a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Then add the wet into the dry and stir 'em up. Spoon into greased or lined muffin tins, or use reusable silicone muffin cups like I do. Top with some crumbled goat cheese, more dried parsley, and red pepper flakes if you like (me likey). Bake at 350 F/170 C for about 12 minutes or so.

These are great with the salmon chowder I've been making a lot lately. 



Saturday, November 10, 2018

gluten-free and dairy-free muy delicioso salmon chowder: perfect for a rainy fall day

Canned salmon is something I keep on hand at all times for soup or salmon croquettes, and I found this recipe kind of recently that we all enjoy.

But I do it differently, partly because I don't use dairy milk and cheese, but also because it's hard to find dill here and I haven't tried to grow any. Here's what I do.

You'll need:

  • potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, garlic--all chopped
  • a can of corn
  • another can of corn with the liquid--puree that with a hand blender to use as the "creamed corn" that the original recipe called for (premade creamed corn has wheat and sugar in the ingredients list)
  • 3 small cans salmon
  • several cups of water with a couple of veggie bouillon cubes or powder sticks
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley
  • whatever milk you use (soy for me)
Do this:

Saute the veggies in grapeseed oil in a big stock pot, then add in the water, bouillon, salt, pepper, and parsley. Boil till the veggies are soft, then add in the broken-up salmon, corn, pureed corn, and then a cup or two of milk. Serve with corn muffins if you have them, or herbed goat-cheese muffins (recipe to come). 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

sassy salad: endive, avocado, tomatoes, cukes

When I find endive on the sale table in the produce section of the grocery store, I make this salad. It's so more-ish with the sweet tomatoes, crunchy-fresh cucumbers, creamy avocado, and bitter endive.

You'll need:

  • cukes
  • tomatoes
  • endive
  • avocado
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • dried mixed herbs, or fresh
  • minced clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper
Do this:

Slice and dice, then mix with the dressing and serve at room temperature so you can taste all those great flavors and textures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

secret-ingredient flourless chocolate muffins

No, we don't live in Canada and the ingredient is not what you think. It's actually...wait for it...chickpeas!

It's from this website and is probably one of the easiest muffins recipes ever. You just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and spoon it into each cup. And so delicious! You can't taste the chickpeas--they just make the muffins really smooth. We all enjoy these.

You'll need:

  • 1 15-oz. (450 g) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • chocolate chips for the top
Do this:

Bung it all into your food processor and pulse till smooth. Pour it into muffin cups and bake at 350 F/170 C for about 12 minutes. 

Enjoy the chocolate hit with your cup of tea in the morning. 


Sunday, October 7, 2018

kickin' wasabi coleslaw

So. It was me birfday this past week, and I was craving hamburgers and fries and coleslaw. And since I like my own cooking (OK, a lot), I made my own. Hamburgers in the frying pan, oven-roasted curly fries (Joel spiralized 'em for me) with olive oil and sea salt, and coleslaw. But not just any old slaw! No, ma'am. I wanted to kick it up, celebration style, and so I decided to add wasabi to the dressing. Oh, boy! Deliciousness.

(I based the dressing off this one, but since my middle name is Tweak, I did just that.)

You'll need:

  • cabbage
  • sweet orange pepper
  • nira (Japanese garlic chives)
  • celery
  • carrots
  • 2 T. rice vinegar
  • 1/3 C. mayo
  • 2 t. wasabi paste
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 C. grapeseed oil
Do this: 

Shred and chop the veggies. Mix the dressing. Stir it all together, chill if you must (I mustn't because I was in a hurry), and devour. Get ready for that wasabi kick in your nose.



Sunday, September 9, 2018

dairy-free caffeine-free chicory "coffee" for the whole fam (a rainy afternoon tale)


I have posted a recipe for chicory root "coffee" on Mamatouille before, but this is my 2.0 version. And it was much needed after one of our Beans burned his thumb with a hot glue gun in Sunday school this morning and consequently has not been a happy kid since. Now he's got his thumb wrapped in aloe and gauze, a Disney movie playing ("The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band" from 1968), and his cup of chicory and plate of chocolate beside him. (Mama's portion is in the above photo.)

For four folks you'll need:
  • a mug's worth of dairy-free milk per person (I used organic soy)
  • 6 tablespoons chicory root powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • (next time, I'll also add a pinch of salt)
Do this: 

Add the milk to a pan and as it starts heating up, whisk in all the other ingredients till warmed through but before it boils. 

Enjoy with a book, a family movie, or an edgy documentary, as each family member desires. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

chicken soup for the sickie

When you're not feeling well and you're an adult, you make your own chicken soup.

Here's what I did:

I had two whole rotisserie chicken remains left so I boiled those with some bay leaves and then picked all the meaty bits off, like a treasure hunt.

I used the broth and added carrots, frozen peas, a whole head of garlic chopped up, a huge onion, a large knob of grated ginger plus the juice from it, some Japanese pumpkin, a sweet yellow pepper, lots of turmeric, salt, pepper, parsley, and chicken bouillon cubes. It simmered till everything was soft and then I added the meat back in. After a few minutes, I served it up in bowls with a scoop of cooked rice.

The saltiness feels so good to my sore throat.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

goat-cheese salad dressing

I've made this twice now and both times it's gone down a treat. My tummy is fine with goat cheese, thankfully, and so I buy it at Costco (it's from Wisconsin, of all places).

This is very easy to make and even easier to eat. I got it here, and I've changed the amounts slightly.

You'll need:

  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (I've been using dried because our container garden has not been replenished except for parsley so far)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • coarse black pepper
Do this:

Just mash the cheese and vinegar with a fork till smooth, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients.

Drizzle over some salad and savor the tangy creaminess. The first salad we tried it on had some cubed sauteed pumpkin with the greens, and that was extra delicious.